Our Ecological Restoration and Land Management team combines the technical and practical expertise required to undertake a wide range of on-ground services related to native vegetation management and restoration. This ranges from weed control and revegetation, to fencing and direct seeding. These services are often required by government departments aiming to improve the quality of the bushland under their control, or by developers to satisfy permit requirements to ‘offset’ the removal of native vegetation.
As Practical Ecology often writes the Property Management Plans that outlines the tasks required for a particular site, we are also able to provide an integrated service that reduces costs and increases effectiveness.
Provided below is an overview of the on-ground restoration and management services we offer. Note that these services are not exhaustive, as we can also undertake other projects to meet your particular requirements.
Weed management is usually part of a broader plan for managing native vegetation, such as a council’s Property Management Plan or a developer’s requirement to offset the effect of construction.
Practical Ecology staff have the plant identification skills to recognise weed species and the experience to know the best timing and technique to eliminate them. We work closely with clients to establish weed control priorities and techniques and pride ourselves on working sensitively to restore remnant indigenous vegetation while communicating our progress to clients and the public.
The weed control techniques we utilise include, but are not limited to:
- sensitive backpack herbicide spraying in bushland areas (with the aim of avoiding off-target damage, and often using broad-leaf or grass specific products);
- vehicle mounted rig spraying for larger weed infestations;
- herbicide spraying prior to and after revegetation;
- targeted hand-weeding, particularly in sensitive bushland environments;
- selective burning using handheld ‘weed burners’;
- prescribed burning, particularly of grassland and woodland areas, to reduce weed cover; and
- invasive shrub and tree control by ‘cut and paint’ or ‘drill and fill’.
We also have extensive experience weed control and mapping in remote and wilderness areas. This has led to the development of enhanced protocols for safety and communications and outstanding navigation and mapping skills in such areas.
Practical Ecology is experienced in installing appropriate indigenous plant species to create thriving, self-sustaining habitats as part of revegetation projects. Past revegetation projects of varying scales have been completed in riparian, wetland and terrestrial environments, including rail corridors and roadside reserves. We are able to implement revegetation projects based on the Property Management Plan’s our ecological consultants prepare in-house, or alternatively work from an existing plan prepared externally.
While some sites may only require supplementary planting to complement existing indigenous vegetation, degraded sites may require herbicide application and mulching to suppress weed-growth and retain moisture prior to planting. Healthy, local provenance indigenous plants are sourced from our network of partner nurseries, these are then planted, watered-in and guarded (as required) against browsing animals. A period of maintenance ensures the plants get the start they need to out-compete weeds and becoming self-sustaining.
Our aim is to create natural-looking, self-sustaining revegetation that require little long-term maintenance. Because our plantings are well-designed and prepared we achieve plant survival rates of greater than 95 percent. We also realise that revegetation isn’t always appropriate, such as where remnant native vegetation could be managed to regenerate naturally – a cheaper and more sustainable long term option.
Seed Collection and Direct Seeding
Practical Ecology has experience, and relevant permits, for the collection of seed from locally indigenous plant species for use as part of direct seeding or propagation for future installation as tube stock plantings. Our staff have excellent plant identification skills and therefore the ability to ensure that the seeds from target species are collected at the appropriate time of year. We use a variety of methods to collect seed depending on the target species. This includes hand picking of individual fruit, the use of pole fruits or fruiting branches from trees and tall shrubs, the use of secateurs for grasses and lower shrubs, or placing a ground sheet underneath a shrub and then shaking the plant to dislodge pods and seed.
Direct Seeding is a way of establishing vegetation by placing seeds directly into prepared ground where they will germinate and grow. As there is no need to physically install individual plants, it is a cost effective way to establish indigenous vegetation on relatively larger sites. Practical Ecology has experience in undertaking direct seeding projects from initial site preparation including cultivation (if required), fencing and weed control to follow-up weed control as part of ongoing maintenance. We can either collect seed ourselves or source seed from an appropriate supplier, and then subsequently broadcast seed by hand or with the assistance of appropriate equipment/machinery where required.
Erosion Control and Fencing
Erosion control works and fencing are often implemented as part of our projects on sites alongside other on-ground restoration works such as revegetation or weed control.
Erosion control is used for example in riparian environments to stabilise banks while plants establish, or on the steep batters often associated with roads. Practical Ecology has experience in the installation of various products aimed at controlling erosion. This includes jute matting and mesh, recover matting, silt fencing, sediment control logs and mulching.
We also have experience in installing various fencing types depending on required objectives and outcomes of a particular site and project. Fence installation is often installed to isolate conservation areas, denote construction exclusion zones, protect remnant trees and/or exclude rabbit or kangaroos.